Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ouchie ouchie, wallet hurtie

Ouch! I've gone and done it now! Yes, dissatisfied with the lousy run of tablets, I have bought another but not just any other tablet. This time I bought an iPad. Call me nuts but I believe a product I buy should last long enough to be able to use it. My history of tablets has not been exactly rosy In 2013 I bought a Nook Color tablet cheaply just as it was about to be discontinued. That thing cost me $90 and never performed as desired. In the slightest humidity the screen would go bananas imagining phantom touches. A photo album would mysteriously flip through all the images or the screen would be utterly response less. Inside a place with powerful air conditioning, it would behave. In my car, outside or in my home it would not behave. Worse than that, I was displaying photos at a function and it let me down embarrassingly. By the time I decided to get rid of it, they were selling on eBay for $75. I copied the text of an advert that sold for $75 and added the same generic photo. I should have got more than $26 for it but that's my experience of eBay. Anyway, it was a case of probably being lucky to get $26 so I sold the damned thing. Roll on a year and i bought a $5 Android tablet that cost me $75 in Walmart. It worked but was very slow. It had such limited memory that only one or two apps could be installed. I struggled on with that tablet for about 6 months before upgrading. Eventually, rather than repeat the miserable experience of eBay, I simply gave the thing away. My next tablet was a refurbished Nexus 7. That was pretty good. The screen was pretty good. In fact, I'd say the screen on the old Nook and the Nexus were both pretty good for displaying photos. The Nexus worked pretty well. In fact, very well. As time went on though, it became ever more sluggish. Eventually, after about a year the USB port worked loose and then the tablet began to behave erratically as though something had gone amiss. That situation became so bad that a factory reset was the only solution. Sadly, the factory reset turned the tablet into a non functional device that merely looked like a tablet. I gather Android tablets have a tendency to do this. Hunting around, it transpired that it was possible to reflash the tablet. Nobody was prepared to do this however and despite my having a pretty intensive computer background, the instructions provided online were opaque enough for reflashing to be well nigh impossible. In the end I found people who said they could do it but they were the usual geek type places. You've all probably encountered them - grubby, pimply, not entirely honest and who will claim to be able to do anything but when faced with reality find they can't back up their claims and quietly shuffle away or put up the shutters when they see you returning. Anyway, one was so keen on doing business they never got back to me and never answered their phone. The other wanted $50 to reflash a $100 tablet. There was a 3rd but honestly, by then I had tired of visiting shady Mike Hammer type places that looked fly-by-night. Thus my next purchase was a $50 tablet from Walmart. That actually was pretty good. It even had a clamshell case with a little keyboard. The keyboard-screen angle was a little strange and the low quality LCD screen was viewable only from certain angles. That meant using it was a matter of physical contortions but it worked pretty well. That was an RCA tablet but more capable than the one I gave away. Three months after purchase, the usb socket broke rendering the tablet useless as it could not be charged. I knew the answer before I started... Nobody would want to fix it. Even though it was under warranty RCA wasn't particularly interested. Postage ($10) would have to be paid by myself despite the fact it was their lousy workmanship that failed. That rankled me.  Then there was the thing that they would not replace my nice purple tablet with a nice new purple tablet but rather with a reconditioned black tablet - not even close to a satisfactory resolution! Thus, being in the market for a tablet, I considered my options. I could have bought another cheap tablet and regarded tablets as being a $150-$300 a year habit. Just like a narcotics addict, I'd be hunting for my new tablet fix every few months after the last temporary fix wore out. Equally I could have just kicked my tablet habit. That would require me to resurrect my old MacBook which definitely needs a new battery. While resurrection is a plan for the future, I have my doubts about its value. I could spend $160 on a new battery and I'm sure after 9 years it would be best to replace the hard drive - probably best to do that with a flash hard drive at $300. That then puts me at $460 or $300 shy of a new champagne colored brand new MacBook. Somehow the new MacBook seems better value especially considering I cannot upgrade the operating system on mine past Snow Leopard. The only other option was to leap into iPads.  Years ago, I had a similar situation with phones. I bought cheap phone after cheap phone and never had my money's worth out of them. Then I went for a Blackberry and that was pretty good but died after just a year. Next, I moved to android phones and had a series of underwhelming phones that were ultimately unsatisfactory until I spent way more than I wanted to on my Nexus 4. That was actually a good phone until the USB socket died. Fortunately it had a cordless charging option which I've been using for the last year or so. I almost went for an iPhone at the time. My next phone probably will be an iPhone. So, having decided that after blowing a nett total of $289 on android tablets that ended up in landfill, I'd try an iPad. I'd already paid the equivalent price of an iPad in failed Android devices. Looking around, prices were outrageous but there were cheaper options. The iPad Air was $249 at Walmart. That was a full sized tablet. The iPad mini 2 was $269 again at Walmart. As it makes no sense at all to have a big tablet when I can simply use a laptop, I went for the smaller tablet. It's just the right size to be portable and the right size to use at night. Needless to say, I got it cheaper than Walmart wanted - that's no great challenge! Using the iPad I notice several things. Firstly, the blogger app is not available. Secondly, there are less apps to weed through. Thirdly, the Apple environment is different from Google's. As I'm a blogger user, this is a challenge. In use, the tablet runs very nicely. Battery life is excellent. Thus far I'm on 86% battery having had several breaks from writing and having done other things as well as writing over the past 3 hours. The screen is excellent. There's a security code I have to enter rather too frequently that was missing on android. On the whole though, it's more pluses than minuses. Next, I have to get my iPad to talk to my camera, mass storage, my MacBook and to camera memory cards. That could be challenging but I'm always up for a challenge. I was right in dumping Windows and going Mac. I'm probably right in dumping android and going iOS.

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